The New Brunswick Liquor Corp. has issued a bid to add as many as 15 new agency outlets at convenience stores in several rural communities across the province as part of its goal to make beer and liquor easier to buy.
Rheal Belliveau has been selling beer and liquor at his convenience store in Dorchester for almost 20 years and said sales are not what they used to be.
"We are basically trying everything we can and doing some promotional stuff, displays, to see if that helps to increase the sales," he said.
NB Liquor said the sale of beer, coolers and spirits has dropped across the province in the last six months.
On top of that NB Liquor, similar to all provincial departments and Crown corporations, has been asked to cut its expenses and boost its revenues. The provincial government is trying to reduce its deficit, which has been projected to be $356 million in 2012-13.
In an effort to get more bottles moving off the shelves the liquor corporation plans to increase the number of convenience stores that sell its products in the province, known as agency stores.
"We are currently one of the least saturated provinces in terms of points of service and it's very important for us that communities that are looking for service are able to receive it," said Marcelle Saulnier, spokesperson for NB liquor.
The corporation issued a strategic review of its operations earlier this year that called for several changes, including a larger role for the private sector.
The review said the corporation should look at reviewing the guidelines surrounding agency stores. There is an exclusion zone that prohibits two agency stores from being within 15 kilometres of each other. The report says that zone should be reduced to five or 10 kilometres.